Plot: Bob and Larry recount the story of Saint Nicholas to the kids in order for them to grasp the true meaning of Christmas.
Breakdown: I was never really into Veggietales when I was younger. It was just ever so slightly beyond my time, despite growing up in a Christian household. It didn’t really look that appealing to me when I finally did start seeing little bits of it around. I didn’t even really know much about it (outside of some Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything trailers I remember seeing when I was younger) until a few months ago when I watched a very interesting video on it by Saberspark. Go watch it. It’s fascinating.
I have heard pretty good things about Veggietales over the years. People have been praising it quite highly for being a rare Christian/religious program that is both entertaining and doesn’t tend to really alienate non-Christian/religious audiences.
So here I am finally giving something of Veggietales a true watch, and, yeah, I can see the appeal. I wasn’t blown away or anything, but it was indeed genuinely entertaining and, while the subject matter was very heavy in the realm of religion, I don’t think it was presented in such a way that it would alienate anyone watching, especially considering that Saint Nicholas was a religious figure.
While they obviously take a lot of liberties in the tale of how Saint Nicholas became Santa Claus, and I mean a lot, they kinda acknowledge that they’re taking these liberties since many of the things that are added or changed for the sake of making Santa connections are blatantly pointed out. However, they almost completely fabricate the backstory of Santa Claus as a child and his reasons for becoming such a giving figure.
They pretty much get a pass for this because we really don’t know much for certain about Saint Nicholas besides a handful of details. However, even these details they get wrong. One of the details, which is Saint Nicholas saving three girls, is changed for understandable reasons. Instead of saving them from lives of prostitution by paying their marriage dowries, the Nicholas in this story saved them from being sent to prison for giving gifts and being unable to pay the fine of one gold coin each.
What’s especially funny is that a detail they add is Nicholas’ parents suddenly dying of illness and Nicholas abandoning his friend to the mercy of demanding townsfolk and an oppressive fisherman because he thinks his friend’s presence will remind him too much of his parents as he journeys.
In this interpretation, Nicholas’ parents were religious, but he, as a kid who didn’t understand or care about that kinda stuff, just brushed it off whenever it came up. He even thought it was weird that his parents were so giving and caring. As local fishers, they would give away their fish to those who needed it, and would help anyone whenever they could. Nicholas didn’t understand truly why they did this until he traveled somewhere and found religion on his own. Then he made it his mission to pick up where his parents left off and start giving to the town again. When he returned to his hometown, he discovered that it was overtaken by the rival fisherman I mentioned, Gustav, who declared himself mayor and basically took over the whole town in tyranny. Everyone worked for him, and no one was allowed to ever give any gifts.
According to this version, Nicholas adopted his trademark outfit only eventually as a means to disguising himself to avoid getting caught while giving the townsfolk gifts.
This story is being told by Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber to a group of kids who are focused entirely on getting gifts for Christmas. Like in the story, a jerk named Gus is basically keeping a guy’s truck hostage when he needs to finish his delivery route in time to go get a Christmas tree with his daughter. And I mean it, he straight up stole this guy’s truck. He takes it from him, locks it in his garage and tells him he can’t get it out unless he pays for it – which he can’t afford.
The story of Saint Nicholas that they made up is believable enough, for the most part, and I was never bored or anything. Plus, it did manage to really get me in the Christmas spirit.
………I’m sorry, I can’t not talk about this anymore. How do they hold things?! They have no arms or hands. Things just float in front of them! It’s like they have telekinesis. It was freaking me out!
Sorry, I needed to get that off my chest.
Anyhoo, if you’re a Veggietales fan or even if you’re simply open to a more religious take on the origins of Santa Claus, check this out. I enjoyed it well enough, and I’d like to see more Veggietales stuff in the future.
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